Last night just before midnight my iPhone chirped on the bedside table. Startled I reached for and knew instinctively who was on the other end. A picture of my now 20-year-old son was displayed on the screen. I saw JonMark sitting next to Autumn at dinner that we shared together before Christmas when they came for a visit.
JonMark knows that he can call either Jennifer or myself late at night when he is tired and driving home from work. His shift at Sherwood Oaks ends at 11:30pm. Then he packs up his things, walks to his car, and prepares to head home.
When the snow and ice come, as they did a week ago, he calls more regularly because we can help calm his anxious heart during the drive home. In good weather that drive takes him about 40 minutes. On snowy nights we talk for nearly 90 minutes. . . Of course, Jennifer and I don't mind the call. It feels nice to be needed by a young man who is growing and spreading his wings out as he confronts the "big bad world."
So I grabbed my phone and quietly said, 'hey bud' as I walked out of the bedroom as quietly as possible. Jennifer stirred a bit but fell back to sleep. The dogs didn't even notice me.
I took up a place on the couch as my eyes tried to focus and drive the sleep away. I struggled to say anything meaningful at first as I could hardly get a sentence out as I spoke without a yawn. But then the two of us fell into our routine of conversations. . .
We talked about the cold (it as only 1 degree there and he was very cold).
We talked about military stuff. . . Books I was reading. Books he read. Things he recommended.
I heard about his work night and how some residents that I didn't know were doing.
He shared with me how his semester was shaping up. He was confident but still tired.
The 40 minutes flew by and I didn't even realize that time elapsed until he said, "well I'm home and am going into the building now." We said good-bye and I returned to bed to sleep the rest of the night away. But the experience made we think about my prayer life.
I wondered why I, or perhaps why you, can make the conversational nature of prayer so challenging? There are plenty of times when I bow my head and can't think of anything to say to God. While I don't yawn, I do 'small talk' my way around God. Justifications as to what I should say and what I shouldn't flutter around my mind--perhaps around yours as well.
But remember how I talked with JonMark. . . It was easy and it wasn't forced. We just talked and as we did I felt my heart come alive. I miss the times of talking to him and relish the chance for the next one--even if that next one comes when I would rather be sleeping.
I wonder if today, you might engage God in the same prayerful conversation? What might happen as you just begin. . .